Working for a Solution to Police Violence

Denzel Avant says he first “got a taste of the research life” at Illinois Tech, as an undergraduate research assistant. 

“I really enjoyed the work and the ability to devote a lot of time and thought into breaking down and explaining how the social world worked,” he says.

Now enrolled as a Ph.D. student at Northwestern University, Avant studies American urban politics and police violence targeted toward marginalized populations.

“I study who gets included in policy discussions, who gets excluded, and why the chips fall where they fall,” he says.

Looking back, Avant credits the social sciences faculty for “all the attention and energy they devoted to the students.”

“The faculty encouraged us to be involved in undergraduate research,” he says, “and were more than willing to write up a guided reading list if some area of scholarship captured our attention.”

Avant also offers some practical advice for students.

“Besides making great friends, in college I got a few years to slowly and safely explore the world, learn new hobbies, understand my social values, and focus on who I was and who I wanted to be," he says. "Read Gramsci, try espresso, and figure out what color combinations look good on you.”

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